2015 BMW X4 xDrive28i Test Drive

kikimiqbalsoft -  Can you spare a second? Actually, you won’t even need all of it. If you’re willing to wait less than three-quarters o...


kikimiqbalsoft -  Can you spare a second? Actually, you won’t even need all of it. If you’re willing to wait less than three-quarters of a watch-tick longer to get to freeway speed, this BMW X4 xDrive28i delivers many of the same, ah, satisfactions found in the X4 xDrive35i we tested earlier, but at a discounted rate. 


It has the same five-door body and cartoonish “coupe” roofline, the same diminished utility from that offered by its X3 platform-mate, and the same long list of available options, including the M Sport package we’ve had on both of our X4s. That bundle includes a stiffened suspension, 19-inch wheels, sport seats, and a bunch of exterior and interior dress-up items and runs $2300 on this model.

Unlike the X3, the X4 can be had only with four-wheel drive and offers no diesel option, so the 28i and the 35i are the whole X4 model range, at least until BMW adds a full-on M edition to make the thing even more outrageous. It has all the distinctive look-at-me oddity as its big brother, the X6, except that the miniaturized version turns gazes into stares and elicits rambling reminiscences from geezers eager to point out that the AMC Eagle SX/4 was a genuine two-door coupe.

A Half-Step Behind

Choosing the xDrive28i means surrendering two cylinders, 60 horsepower, and 42 lb-ft of torque, as it has a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of twist. The base-price gap is $3300 and extras packed another $12,400 onto the six-cylinder we tested, but this four was hardly spartan, its sticker bloated by nearly $9K in options. 

 These included the $2200 Premium package (passive entry, lumbar support, satellite radio), $700 in Driver Assistance (rearview camera, park-distance warning), plus heated front seats ($500), navigation ($2150), and assorted minor doodads taking the sticker to $54,550. That’s a strong number—but not as strong as the xDrive35i’s $61,325. 

At the track, saving $6775 set us back only 0.7 second in the dash to 60 mph, the four-banger taking 5.9 seconds versus 5.2 with the six. The last time we tested an X3 with this turbo four (before that model’s 2015 face-lift), it needed 6.2. Beyond interstate-legal velocities, the gap widens, however. 

The xDrive28i needs all of 16.7 seconds to get to 100 mph, a speed its more muscular brother hits right at the quarter-mile pole in only 13.8. This example needed 14.6 to get there at 94, which still counts as moving the hell out for something that weighs more than two tons and is propelled by only 2.0 liters.

Just under 100 pounds lighter, the 28i did much better than its sibling in braking, stopping from 70 mph in 175 feet against the 35i’s 192-foot figure. Both X4s, though, experienced brake fade, atypical for BMW but a trait we’ve noted in several X3/X4 tests since 2011. 

The tires were the same run-flat Goodyears on 19-inch wheels, and skidpad grip was basically identical here at 0.85 g. Our test driver reported moderate understeer, noting that it was easy to induce oversteer in the xDrive28i, which carries less weight on its nose; the four-cylinder model’s front axle supports 49.3 percent of its heft against 50.8 percent with the six.

Many Parallels—Including Fuel Economy

These measurable distinctions amount to small Löwenbräu in real-world driving, as were our fuel savings. We achieved 21 mpg in this car and 20 with the six. The engine is the only notable difference, since the final-drive ratio and the gearing of the eight-speed automatic transmission are identical.

With the M Sport package, the ride is on the firm side of comfortable and the handling, like that of other BMW utilities, sets a standard that other such vehicles can only aspire to reach. 

Occupants in the X4 sit lower than they do in the square-cut X3, and while we can debate whether it looks sportier, it certainly feels less tall and tippy in corners. That said, this example lacked the Dynamic Dampers (a $1000 add-on) that featured on the xDrive35i. We missed their tighter rein over roll control. 

On balance, the X4 xDrive28i lags its primary competitor, the pricier Porsche Macan, by a wider margin than does the xDrive35i but still ranks higher on the fun scale than the relatively sensible Audi Q5. Only the new Lexus NX, though, can even approach this BMW in terms of love-it or laugh-at-it design
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